Why America's become sissified
Walter E. Williams
9/18/2002 12:00:00 AM - Walter E. Williams
"America: A Sissified Nation" was the title of an August 2002
column that brought in hundreds of favorable responses, mostly from American
men and women who were not sissies. In that column, I argued that we
Americans have become sissified and are meekly giving up essential liberties
in the name of fighting terrorism in exchange for trivial amounts of
Instead of allowing the war on terrorism to provide political
cover for taking our liberties, the president ought to give credible notice
to countries who harbor, aid and abet terrorists that they will face massive
military retaliation which would not exclude nuclear weapons should our
intelligence resources discover them to be the origin of a terrorist attack.
Allow me to speculate on how we became a sissified nation. In a
word or two, we've become "Oprahized" and "Springerized."
You say, "Williams, what do you mean by that?"
It's simple: We've become a nation increasingly ruled by
emotions and feelings -- in a word, feminized. Men and women have different
psychological make-ups. Women tend to be more nurturing, sensitive and
submissive. They demonstrate greater feelings of love and tend to exhibit
grief to a greater extent than men. On the other hand, men tend to be more
competitive, aggressive and hostile than women.
Female characteristics are vital to a well-ordered society, for
they exert a civilizing influence. I'd never want to live in a society where
women didn't have a major role in the rearing of children and management of
the household. However, sensitivity, nurturing and a capacity to exhibit
grief are not the best characteristics for political leadership.
We've just finished an outpouring of sensitivity, emotions and
exhibition of grief on the first anniversary of a terrorist attack that's
been compared to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which ushered us into
World War II. But let's compare the one-year anniversaries of both attacks.
Jennifer Harper writes in her article "No Time for the Mawkish"
in the Sept. 11 Washington Times. She says, "Nobody was for 'healing' on
Dec. 7, 1942 and 'closure' was the last thing anybody wanted," adding, "no
flowers, no teddy bears and no exploration of the national angst. No
presidential admonitions to think of Shinto as a religion of peace, no
appeals to understand the frustrations that drove the misunderstood Nazis to
rape Poland and bomb London."
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt told Americans why she opposed any
commemoration of Pearl Harbor: "It is not a date for a holiday; it is a date
that should make us work." Back then, Americans of my generation hadn't
become sissified and controlled by emotion. We wanted blood and vengeance
that ultimately saw the complete, merciless, devastating destruction of the
evil Axis powers.
Harper writes, "The Americans of that era, now fading swiftly
into the unremembered past, had no time for such navel-gazing." The Dec. 8,
1942, New York Times wrote: "We have no instinct for glory. What we do
surely have, collectively, is a determination to put all we possess into
this necessary and unpleasant task. Our emotions are deep and not noisily
expressed, (but) we know that we are destined to play a decisive part not on
this continent alone but throughout the world. That knowledge steadies us,
and brings us together."
I have just as much sorrow for the victims and their families of
last year's Sept. 11 attack as any other American. Rather than last week's
commemorative celebrations, emotional outpouring, not to mention political
showboating, not doing anything publicly would have spoken volumes. But if
we just had to do something to mark the occasion, we would have honored
ourselves and the victims more by a full-scale air and sea attack on Iraq.